What you might have missed in 2020 Pop Culture


The year 2020 could go down in infamy as the year when almost everything went wrong. With so much going on — mainly bad things — it is easy to get lost in all of the information and forget what all happened last year.

When everyone was forced to be in quarantine because of COVID-19, streaming services quickly became the best friend of many people. Netflix’s Tiger King shocked millions of viewers with Joe Exotic’s crazy morals and had everyone questioning whether or not Carole Baskin killed her husband. It had 34.3 million viewers within the first 10 days of its release, breaking numerous records.

Another notable binge-worthy show includes Cobra Kai. The first season captured the attention of viewers of all ages who enjoyed the 80s classic, Karate Kid. With all the cheesy nostalgia and action-packed conflicts this show has to offer, Cobra Kai leaves you smiling, wanting more and begging Daniel Larusso to take his daughter to therapy instead of turning her PTSD into a karate lesson.

Queen’s Gambit told the story of a chess prodigy in the 1960s named Elizabeth Harmon. While chess may not be an interesting premise for a lot of people, this show is chock-full of curiosity and amazing character development, as well as an intriguing story of Elizabeth’s journey to fame.

Along with using television as an escape route, people also decided that relaxing in their rooms while listening to music was another way to make life a little more interesting while at home. From this, studies have shown that there has been over a 50 percent increase in music listening from 2019 to 2020. 

This led to people experimenting with different types of music to find out what they liked, or even just following the trends and streaming popular songs.

Some examples of songs that hit the charts during 2020 would be “Blinding Lights”, “WAP”, “Hit Different”, “Rain on Me”, “Dead Man Walking” and “Savage”. 

From the diversity that 2020 brought to the music industry, music ought to be an important part of the pop culture of the year, with introductions to new genres, and an increase in different kinds of indie and RnB music.

Another major part of 2020 music would be a new wave of glitchy cyberpop. Cyberpop in a nutshell is a genre of music based on fiction where the world is based on computers and technology (Cyberpunk), but instead tied into pop culture and turned into a genre of music that is very futuristic. You can expect lots of techno sounds and beats combined to create this new popular type of genre.

An example of this would be the band 100 gecs, which, in all honesty, sounds like what it feels like to get pins and needles in your foot (which is not always a bad feeling).  

Cyberpop took over and was a huge step into the indie and alt sides of TikTok which was introduced in the split of sides that took place that summer.

From Burlington stores with faces on them to deep fried videos of a decapitated elmo, alt TikTok (or some call it deep TikTok) was a huge hotspot during the summer of 2020.

 It also created a huge divide between people who were deemed on “straight TikTok” and “alt TikTok”, although it had nothing to do with the sexuality of people, but more of what kind of videos they saw on their ‘for you page’.

“Straight” TikTok was your basic TikTok stars dancing to almost every song with the same four different moves in different orders. Some of these influencers include Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae and Bryce Hall. People were somewhat made fun of if they were on this side of TikTok, but not on the other side.

“Alt” TikTok on the other hand, is a very broad title with many different branches stemming from the umbrella term. A few notable ones include “deep” TikTok (deep fried videos, crunchy audios, honestly just nonsense), “canceled” TikTok (taking celebrities who were “canceled” and using their apology as a voiceover for games) and indie TikTok (cyberpop videos with color filters while kids dance and film themselves).

Aside from the drama, TikTok was the introduction to a huge game that exploded during 2020: Among Us. 

You have probably already heard of the high-grossing game by now, with parody songs released and over 60 million users a day playing. If you do not know what it is, Among Us is a virtual game you can play with your friends that became unusually popular around July or August. 

You can learn more about the game in a previously released story, “Teens across the U.S. ask, who is the imposter” by Sophie Burchfield.

A few other games that became extremely popular in 2020 would be aquapark.io, Fortnite, COD, Animal Crossing, and many more.

In fact, many people have used these games to gain popularity on the internet.

Groups like Dream SMP and AMIGOPS, and individual gamers like TommyInnit, Tubbo and Quackity are just a few of the many who have created a large platform in the past year. 

They were able to create a loving fanbase for themselves, which led to these gamers being able to receive awards for their hard work. Take for example Rachel Hofstetter, or more commonly referred to by her online username, Valkyrae, who received content creator of the year at the 2020 Game Awards.

But with every up, there is a down. In 2020, we lost a plethron of beloved celebrities, such as Chadwick Boseman, Naya Rivera, Eddie Van Halen, Kobe Bryant and dozens more. While we may have not known them personally, these people have inspired talent and provided comfort for people across the nation. While they were taken away from the world, their memory will live on forever.

So if you could not tell, 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. With political tension to celebrity deaths, new influencers to binge-worthy tv shows, I feel like we all learned something new about the world or even ourselves. Cheers to 2021, and let us hope this one is better.